Monterey County California Genealogy and History

Monterey County: Biographies


A sanitary engineer quite as well known for his energetic initiative as for his invaluable training and experience is Bert E. Underwood, of 352 Main street, Salinas. He is a native son of California, born on a farm in San Benito county, May 2, 1889. His father, Walter Underwood, a native of Santa Clara county, California, wedded Miss Mary Smith, who was born in Sonoma county. They were a worthy couple, highly esteemed by all who knew them.

Bert E. Underwood attended the district schools of San Benito county and at the age of eighteen was apprenticed to the firm of Anderson & Daugherty, of Salinas, to learn the trades of plumbing and sheet-metal working. He followed these lines at San Luis Obispo and at Santa Barbara for a time and then put aside business interests to render military aid to his country. He made an enviable war record by enlisting in 1916 in the First California Cavalry, during the troubles with Villa in Mexico. He was stationed at Nogales, Arizona, on the Mexican border, and he was discharged at the outbreak of the war with Germany. He then enlisted in the Fortieth Division, One Hundred and Forty-fifth Machine Gun Battalion, and was commissioned first lieutenant, and trained at Camp Kearney, California, with the Fortieth Division. He went overseas in 1918 but previous to this, attended the machine gun school at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, while in France he was transferred to the First Division, United States Army, Second Machine Gun Battalion, and saw active service on the west front. He was in action at San Miguel and in the Argonne and afterward entered Germany with the Army of Occupation, remaining for nine months at Montabena. For seven months of this time he was acting captain, or company commander. For service in action he received four gold stars and one silver star and his military record is one of which he has every reason to be proud.

Returning to Salinas, Mr. Underwood established himself in business in 1919 as a sanitary engineer and opened a plumbing and sheet metal shop on Main street.

Mr. Underwood was married to Miss Ellen Mellander, of Nevada, now the mother of his three children-Loraine, Leona and Bert E., Jr. Mr. Underwood is a member of Salinas Lodge, No. 204, F. & A. M., in which he is serving as junior warden; Salinas Lodge, No. 614, B. P. O. E., and of Santa Lucia Parlor, No. 97, Native Sons of the Golden West. As a citizen he stands one hundred per cent American and as a business man displays the industry and energy which bring success.

Source: History of Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties, California : cradle of California's history and romance : dating from the planting of the cross of Christendom upon the shores of Monterey Bay by Fr. Junipero Serra, and those intrepid adventurers who accompanied him, down to the present day. Chicago: S.J. Clarke Pub. Co., 1925, 890 pgs.